2018 has been a tremendous year for Irish sport.
While it hasn’t quite gone to plan for some more high-profile competitors such as Conor McGregor and the Irish football team, the depth of success for Ireland across many codes of sport is a testament to that.
One of the significant recognitions of this glory comes at the RTÉ Sports Awards in December every year.
James McClean was the big winner last year, preceded in recent years by the likes of Michael Conlan and the aforementioned McGregor.
This year’s awards ceremony will take place on the 15th of next month, and while the final shortlist won’t be decided until the 9th, the long-list has been released today.
The list is headlined by the likes of boxing great Katie Taylor, who has won three title fights this year, Johnny Sexton, who has been pivotal to Ireland and Leinster’s stunning success in rugby, and Dublin footballer Brian Fenton, the All Stars Footballer of the Year.
There’s a strong athletics contingent given the raft of medals won across different disciplines. The women’s hockey team are represented by heroic goalie Ayeisha McFerran, who steered the Green Army to the runner-up spot in the World Cup.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on those such as Jonathan Rea, whose third straight World Superbikes title earned him second in the 2017 BBC SPOTY vote, just behind Mo Farah. The Antrim man claimed his fourth consecutive championship this year.
The full list of nominees:
Sinéad Aherne — Dublin Ladies captain
Thomas Barr — Athletics
TJ Doheny — Boxing
Katie-George Dunlevy & Eve McCrystal — Para-Cycling
Brian Fenton — Dublin footballer
Kellie Harrington — Boxing
Phil Healy — Athletics
Patrick Hoban — Dundalk striker
Ellen Keane — Para-Swimming
Cian Lynch — Limerick hurler
Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe — Pentathlon
Dan Martin — Cycling
Padraig McCarthy — Eventing
Rhys McClenaghan — Gymnastics
Ayeisha McFerran — Hockey
Sanita Puspure — Rowing
Jonathan Rea — Motor Cycling
Davy Russell — Jockey
Shane Ryan — Swimming
Johnny Sexton — Rugby
Chloe Sigerson — Cork camogie
Jason Smyth — Para-Athletics
Katie Taylor — Boxing